(This is an excerpt from a transcript of the Sangha Talk February 1, 2018, by Swami Ritavan Bharati at The Meditation Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota USA. It was previously published in the February 2018 edition of the AHYMSIN Newsletter.)
Good evening and welcome on a cold evening. I’m sure you’ve brought your warm hearts and together such warmness will be enlightening. Welcome to those who have come from a distance – all the way from Chicago – as well as all of you, having ventured out on this cold evening to be another ember on this fire of illumination, the beauty of such a conflagration of consciousness that each and every one embraces as their own identity.
I am reminded of Swami Veda’s beautiful meditation on this relationship of a stream of awareness, an illumination of consciousness as the very Being – and each of us as that Presence imbued with the life-force from our Divine Mother who has enwombed us in her grace.
So, if I may, I’d like to play a short segment – not the entire 50 minutes, not to worry – of maybe 10 minutes with Swamiji’s words which are no longer words, but the experience of a saintly mind who lived his life in such a way that he truly believed he was a wave in this ocean of life and love – so much so that each of us has felt, and continues to feel, that Presence in a profound way, a very intimate way – an intimate way in which this aliveness is more than just a passing relationship associated with a physical presence, but a mind-presence that has no boundaries of past or future in terms of our concept of time – no boundary in the sense of this lifetime or previous lifetimes or those future lifetimes to be, for that too is simply a mirage, a falsehood called “time.”
So again bring your mind’s awareness to that inner flow, that sushumna stream, that breath, prana and light, as the very being that you are.
“Only a joyful mind immersed in the beauty of the ever-present facets and faces of the Divine Mother can meditate. A mind laden with anguish, sorrow and anger is not yet a vessel that has been prepared for meditation. Therefore in your daily life, endeavor to make your mind joyful and beautiful, resonating to the floods of the waves and waves of joyous beauty that touch you, course through you, pass through you, at every instant.
“Remember that your sense of individuation is a myth to be discarded, and that which you have discarded as a myth that is the awareness of the totality and unity of the indivisible, undivided universal consciousness, has to become a reality for you.
“Learn, instant by instant, to dip into your share in the ocean of joy. Eliminate from you the mythical belief that you are a body. This myth has been impressed upon you by those who have misguided you, and has been strengthened by yourself.
“That which you feel in yourself as a certain aliveness, a certain awareness, even though you have tried to bury it under the heavy load of the myth of being a physical body – that sense of aliveness, awareness, consciousness is your true Self. And the aliveness and the awareness of the universal conscious reality, because of its fullness is deficient in nothing, is wanting in nothing. Therefore it is all-joy, all this bliss, all-completeness: purnam, purnam, purnam!
“It is the flavorful essence, rasa, the juice of the very being of the universe, whose custodian is the Mother deity, the Divine Mother, Shri who is the resort and refuge of all forms and facets, of all thoughts and sentiments – all the power of will, power of knowledge, power of creativity – Lalita, the tender one, the gentle one, Tripura Sundari, the Beauty of the Three Realms, she whose name is beauty, whose faces are the forms. She is not the beauty of the faces; the faces are the forms of that force called the Great Mother, named Beauty.
“Know yourself to be as a particle of her being – her wave, the wave of fullness, of joy, of bliss, of completeness, of totality, of consciousness, indivisibility of life-force, passing through you like a mother’s mind-wave, prana-wave, as nourishment coursing through her body passes to the fetus – so sheltered, so protected, so guided, so having no cause for anguish and fear.
“Be nourished on this wave. Know yourself to be the wave of the fullness of life, the wave of the ocean of consciousness and perfection, which is everywhere as far as you can stretch the vision from your third-eye in the form of a ray emanating in all directions – in spaces, and in times and in all the variations that exist in the spaces and times, as far as the ray from your central eye can reach and touch. All of that is the extent of her unfathomable, shoreless ocean. Know yourself to be a wave linked to all the other waves.”
Know yourself to be a wave linked with all the other waves. An example of your thinking: “I should come to The Meditation Center” – a single mind-wave – that the iccha shakti, the will, carried out by the knowledge and action, brought you here. But many other waves from that same single source and force perceived that attraction, perceived that unity. So you were not coming on your own to be here for yourself only; you were coming as a calling, and you arrived as an answer to be acknowledged as part of the ocean. And we will sit together and we will listen together and pray together and meditate. We will eat together and converse together and depart together – yet where is the separation? For again when we sit for our meditation, we are together. That togetherness has never been lost. That fullness is always present.
So where is there room for this separation? – a myth that is to be discovered and dissolved, discovered in meditation as a process by which: Neti, neti! – “I am not that.” That desire that attachment – Let go. Let go. And for that moment of stillness where the wholeness begins to ooze into the crevasses of your mind’s eye, all the senses feel that rasa, that flavorful, beautiful presence to be called a peaceful moment in your meditation – that is carried into a few moments when you get up, a few more minutes before you get engaged, a few more moments before the habits of the worries arise again. Yet again with that inner dialogue, with that mantra, with that sense of unity and wholeness and holiness that is always who you are, you are reminded, you are protected, you are nourished, moment, to moment to moment – and life unfolds.
We have begun a new year with many expectations. We’ve looked to the past and found successes that we would like to repeat. And so we come into this new year with a momentum to be positive, to be energetic, to guide our energies in a positive way, a helpful way, a kind and compassionate way – kindness that begins with ourselves in that sense of letting go of the judgements, accepting and forgiving of our own mistakes and misgivings. And carrying that forward into our relationships with others, our family and friends, our coworkers and colleagues, yes! A little less of a judging, a little less of the verbal reaction to their mistakes. Such a kindness can be contagious. Notice a smile. And with the mind’s smile, the mouth will form a smile. The eyes will lighten and glisten with that touch of happiness, even if it is for a moment.
Again you have let go. Let go of the constrictions of an identity, and the habit patterns of a mind which is grooved by the habituated reactions that start many times from our every waking moment. How many carry their phones into the bedroom? How many look at them before even before arising from bed? Instead, why not put your feet to the floor and say,
Forgive me, Mother Earth, for touching you with my feet.
Let me think of you as I begin my day. You, my kind Mother as Earth, you’ve given me all that is nurturing. May I, too, nurture through kindness in my behavior, in my words, in my actions in some small way today.
If that can be your morning prayer and a moment of stillness to allow the breath flow as the life-force, to reconnect, to re-energize – to go into your battleground and be the Arjuna, guided by the Krishna, who is always present in your conscience. What is the voice of your soul saying to you? As you drive, as you sit at your desk, as you converse with others, are you listening? Not just to the words that are coming through the active sense of hearing, but through that inner voice of your soul that is reflecting kindness, compassion, love and peace – and yearning for that within yourself so as to recognize that in another – that you and I are one, that you and I are the same weave of the fabric of life. We are together being nurtured by the Divine Mothers.
So these are just beautiful little sentiments to carry as the unfolding of your life as meditation. Yes, you do meditation, but are you the source of that meditation – that witness, that observer, that still-point that is truly empty – neti, neti – not this, not this? Yet that emptiness reflects a fullness, and that fullness is your birthright. In the same way Jesus said, “I and the Father are one,” you, we all can say, “I and the Divine Mother are one.”
She is Tripura Sundari, the Beauty of the Three Universes – the gross, subtle and subtlest – associated with the personality of the five koshas, measured by pleasant-mindedness. That is the measure of your beauty. A pleasant mind is a beautiful mind. A loving heart is a beautiful persona that will attract and thus allow you the opportunity as a blessing to give – and to give more, and a blessing even to give more – again reflected in the very crucifixion of Jesus who opened his arms and said, “Father, take me.” [“Into Thy hands I commend my spirit.” (Luke 23:46)]
So Christ did not suffer. Jesus on the cross suffered, but the Christ Spirit, the spirit of fullness, oneness, wholeness and happiness, did not deviate, did not allow a separation to cause pain and suffering. So Christ did not suffer. We each must choose to live a life of suffering, pain and sorrow, or to know that life’s events have their flavors, yet you remain above, like the lotus on the lotus pond, rooted the in the mud, but shining in beauty as you float on the surface. Be that flower of beauty, be that witness to life.
Last week we were very fortunate to have Pandit Dabral address us through the technology we have. For those of you that were here, did you take a few gems with you that night? Two, three, four little gems from his talk that touched you, so that you said, “Yes, that reminds me,” or “That has awoken again in me,” or “That is now my resolve for the coming week,” and you applied them. You thought about them, contemplated them, and applied them in your life in some small way – and in that small way gaining slowly a momentum. Maybe it was in the way he described the mantra as your friend, or mantra as the Guru, or mantra bringing light into your life in some small way. Or many other gems that he shared: The support of the sangha, how with the kalyana-mitra it’s such a beautiful relationship in life, that you and your kalyana-mitra, the friend on the path, share truth together, share honesty, share inspiration together. Or maybe it was simply when Pandit Dabral confessed that when people came to him, saying, “I’m seeing this light.” “I’m feeling this.” This energy is doing that to me.” “What do you think?” He confided in us. “Actually,” he said, “I’ve been meditating for many decades, yet I haven’t seen anything. I don’t feel these things.” Such honesty! But at the same time a recognition that meditation is not in the movements of the energy; it is not in the bright lights that flicker like the neon light is downtown Minneapolis tonight.
Meditation is so subtle, for it is simple stillness and silence. And we all yearn for such an experience. Such bombardment of our senses! “Please! Can there be stillness?” Such engagement from moment to moment! “Please! Can there be silence in my life?” And that prayer can be heard. And that can be realized in your meditations when you let go and simply be. Be, becoming that which you are, that which you are to fulfill in this life as your dharma, following those contours of life which your karma creates, which your free will challenges you and protects you in each moment.
Life is beautiful, and each and every one of those waves in this ocean of life, they too are beautiful. The colors that they bring to life in their personality, are simply another of the spectrum of this rasa of Mother Divine, playing out her magic, her majesty and her myth – not as a mirage of falsehood, but as a spectrum of illumination that we call truth: that one life with many colors, like a rainbow.
So do not be dissatisfied and dissuaded by these currents and cross-currents through all the impact, through all the ways in which the senses engage in every waking moment. Draw all those senses back to their source, even for a moment in your busy day, and you will enjoy; you will be in joy for you will recognize yourself as the source of that joy.